Hold on Tight for Grip Strength March


Grip Strength: Get Your Crush On

by Larry Pastor | September 25, 2012 12:01 am


When it comes to strength, most people call to mind an image of a big deadlift, a big squat, or a big Olympic lift as an example. What most athletes forget is that before you can even lift the weight, you have to grip it first. If you truly want to become stronger — whether lifting your own bodyweight in gymnastics movements or moving an external weight — it all starts with the grip. Let’s learn more about grip strength and how to develop it.

Why Develop Grip Strength?

Tabata Tidbit: According to some some medical studies, weak grip strength may be associated with higher mortality rates.
Training grip strength does not just train your grip; rather, you are training your entire body. This training has a beneficial effect on other parts of your fitness such as endurance and stamina. Just listen to these experts.

According to The Art of Manliness, a stronger grip will improve your fitness several ways:

Stronger Grip = Bigger Lifts: When you have a strong grip, you are able to lift heavier weights in the gym. Especially in pulling movements such as deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, and chin-ups, a solid grip that you can call upon will help you increase your training results by increasing strength.

Stronger Grip = Better Endurance: When your hands and lower arms are strong, you can also perform more repetitions than someone whose weak hands are a liability.

Stronger Grip = Better Injury Resiliency: Muscles and connective tissues that are strengthened are more injury-resistant, and if injury does end up taking place, stronger tissue can usually recover faster so that you are back on top of your game.

In their daily blog, CrossFit Hillsboro also emphasizes the importance of a firm grip — too often the “weakest link” in an athlete’s set of skills. One of their favorite sources, Eric Cressey, explains:

A firm grip does so much more than connect you to the bar; it turns on more proximal muscles and gets the nervous system going, as we have loads of mechanoceptors in our hands (disproportionately more than other areas on the body). As an example, physical therapist Gray Cook often cites a phenomenon called “irradiation,” where the brain signals the rotator cuff to fire as protection to the shoulder when it’s faced with a significant load in the hand, as with a deadlift. Just grabbing onto something get more muscles involved in the process.

As if that was not already convincing, he simplifies it even further:

A strong grip is the key to transferring power from the lower body, core, torso, and limbs…

Improve your grip strength by learning to grip with your hands instead of your fingers.
In an article for the LA Times, Richard Bohannon, a professor of physical therapy at the University of Connecticut, notes, “Grip strength reflects your overall muscle status and a general sense of how much muscle mass you have.”
Think of a Grip as a Cube

Ironmind defines grip strength as a 3-dimensional cube with 8 possible combinations of prime mover, hand position, and intensity.

Prime Mover

Crushing – Your 4 fingers are the prime movers. An example is shaking hands.
Pinching – Your thumb provides the power. An example is pinch-gripping plates.
Hand Position

Crushing, closed hand: Finishing off a gripper
Crushing, open hand: Lifting a thick bar
Pinching, closed hand: Pinch gripping a thin plate
Pinching, open hand : Pinch gripping a thick plate or several plates.

Along with these four different kinds of hand positions, there are also two different kinds of intensity that may be applied for each:

1-Rep max effort, similar to 1RM weighted pullup or deadlift
Endurance, such as when a rock climber is ascending, during a series of holds or throughout a farmer’s walk.
Did you know? Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength associated with aging – often reflected in a loss of grip strength.
Obviously, to be successful in the “constantly varied” world of CrossFit, an athlete has to be adept at all of the above grip variations. The wrist/forearms and extensors also play a supporting role in grip strength by stabilizing the hand and providing power and muscle balance.

Lift 10 Tons in February

Tomorrow is the first day of February which means it is time to switch up the skill work. We had a great month working on gymnastics skills. Many people got their first pull-ups! This month we are going to lift 10 tons using only the empty barbell with the focus being olympic lifts. We will break the snatch and clean and jerk down into pieces and work on executing each movement with perfect form. If you are lifting an empty 33# bar you would have to complete 607 lifts. If you come to the gym an average of 5 days a week you would need to execute 30 lifts a day to reach 20,000 pounds, so that is what we are going to do. 12234971_1103568506328677_4841996674369694120_n

See you in March!

It has been nearly 2 years since I left my job at NAU and started working at the gym fulltime. After a few months of learning the ropes of the business Mike and Lisa departed on their adventure, and I had an incredible year coaching and managing the business. It was a completely new and different experience for me. There was definite struggle, suffering through challenges, and I learned so much form the other coaches and from all of the clients. I have grown as a person and as an athlete in ways that I never dreamed possible, and none of it would have been happened without the coaches and you, the community. I absolutely love coming to work everyday. I love being around other people that are willing to suffer/struggle in order to reach their goals.

I was recently presented an opportunity to once again step out of my comfort zone and suffer a bit in pursuit of my goal of continuous growth. I will be working on a project at the University of Chicago that involves assessing their operational effectiveness. I originally planned to fly back and forth each week because I could not fathom being away from the CFF community for 6 weeks. After thinking about it for a while I realized that I would not be effective as a coach or as a consultant if I was spending every free moment at 37,000 ft. in transit. So, I have decided to take 6 weeks off from CFF and face some of my fears: I am going to drive across the country alone, I am going to live in the city, I am going to find a new (temporary) gym, I am going to work for a major university in a capacity that I have never been in before, and I am going to be away from my friends and CFF community that are family and home for me. I am scared shitless, but it is time to step out of my comfort zone and suffer a bit so I can continue to grow.

I plan to visit as many gyms along the way as possible with the intention of bringing back new ideas and a fresh set of eyes, so you better be prepared for my return in March. In the meantime, I will continue to answer the info@crossfitflagstaff.com email address and handle all your Front Desk and membership issues from afar. You may also see a blog post or two from me while I am away.

Thank you for all your support and for your willingness to suffer day in and day out in constant pursuit of excellence. BETTER EVERYDAY.

Regards- Lindsay


I encourage you to read this article. It is on point.

You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everyone would like that—it’s easy to like that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence—but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship—but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.
People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.
People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There’s a lot of crappy advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”
Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something enough. They just aren’t aware of what it is they want, or rather, what they want “enough.”

Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten thousand.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe what you want isn’t what you want, you just enjoy wanting. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

That answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.
For most of my adolescence and young adulthood, I fantasized about being a musician — a rock star, in particular. Any badass guitar song I heard, I would always close my eyes and envision myself up on stage playing it to the screams of the crowd, people absolutely losing their minds to my sweet finger-noodling. This fantasy could keep me occupied for hours on end. The fantasizing continued up through college, even after I dropped out of music school and stopped playing seriously. But even then it was never a question of if I’d ever be up playing in front of screaming crowds, but when. I was biding my time before I could invest the proper amount of time and effort into getting out there and making it work. First, I needed to finish school. Then, I needed to make money. Then, I needed to find the time. Then … and then nothing.

Despite fantasizing about this for over half of my life, the reality never came. And it took me a long time and a lot of negative experiences to finally figure out why: I didn’t actually want it.

I was in love with the result—the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, pouring my heart into what I’m playing—but I wasn’t in love with the process. And because of that, I failed at it. Repeatedly. Hell, I didn’t even try hard enough to fail at it. I hardly tried at all.

The daily drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals with no car. It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the top.

Our culture would tell me that I’ve somehow failed myself, that I’m a quitter or a loser. Self-help would say that I either wasn’t courageous enough, determined enough or I didn’t believe in myself enough. The entrepreneurial/start-up crowd would tell me that I chickened out on my dream and gave in to my conventional social conditioning. I’d be told to do affirmations or join a mastermind group or manifest or something.

But the truth is far less interesting than that: I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.

I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way.

Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.”

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend.

Article by Mark Manson
This post originally appeared on MarkManson.net. Follow @iammarkmanson on Twitter.

Yoga Schedule Change Beginning Monday 1/11/16

The new yoga schedule will be Monday at 7am and Thursday at 6am. Please join Tiana to work on all your sticky bits. IMG_8539


On 2-9-2014 we lost Sgt. Lance Davison, a long time client and member of our community. He served in the USMC Marine Force Recon. He was a OEF/OIF Combat Veteran and he was a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. January 8th was his birthday, so we chose to celebrate him with his Hero WOD today. It is also a day to be open about mental health struggle, be it PTSD or any other issue. It is a day to recognize and appreciate the strong community that you are surrounded by, and know that each one of your CrossFit peers is there for you if you need them. NEVER ABOVE YOU. NEVER BELOW YOU. ALWAYS BESIDE YOU. IMG_0061IMG_0024IMG_0020IMG_9993IMG_9975IMG_9971IMG_9952IMG_9949IMG_9950IMG_9946IMG_9945IMG_9939

Thursday Action


Barbell Club times for December are posted on the strength board. Take advantage of this option and get some great coaching from Joel. Core workouts are posted on Thursday and Sunday. A strong core is the foundation for everything we do.  Take advantage of this extra programming as much as you can. You will notice the benefits in barbell movements and gymnastics alike.


Row Interrupted


Post Turkey and Pie “Fran”



Compare to March 3, 2014 http://crossfitflagstaff.com/?s=Fran



Grannie was brought to you courtesy of this guy, Dylan Hungate. These are two of his favorite workouts and he thought they would make a great combination. What did you think?


Warm-up Fun!





Thoughts about Virtuosity and Make-up Day


After class tonight I showed Daniel this picture and he laughed and said, “In order to be a good lifter you first have to be a plumber.” Having worked as a plumber at one point in my life I thought it was pretty funny. After I finished laughing I started thinking about my experience on the jobsite and establishing parallels to my experience in the gym. Believe it or not there are many. When I started working in the trades I was always fascinated with the plumbers and the pipe fitters. I wanted to immediately cut and fit pipe and solder it up. It seemed like such a challenge to puzzle together the pipe and all the fittings. Unfortunately it was a year or so before I got to hold the torch. I had to demonstrate proficiency in all the little things: how to measure and cut copper, how to sand fittings, how to apply just the right amount of flux, and how to use the bread from my lunch to stop water long enough to solder a new fitting in place (I didn’t follow a paleo diet back then). I also got a lot of practice carrying the tools and cleaning up. Finally, after showing proficiency in all the pieces I got to hold the torch, and just like with the barbell I had good days and bad days.

Coach Glassman frequently talks about gymnastics scoring, pointing out that an absolutely perfect routine will only get you a 9.7 out of 10.0. In order to receive the additional three tenths of a point you have to demonstrate “risk, originality, and virtuosity.” I would like to focus on virtuosity here. It is defined as “performing the common uncommonly well.” Coach Glassman sees virtuosity as the mark of true mastery.

I am sure by this point you are thinking, “Lindsay, what the hell are you trying to say?” Well, take a look at that picture again and forget my ridiculous plumber’s humor. When you come to class next time and the trainer asks you to get a PVC I want you to think about virtuosity. Can you move through each position of the Olympic lifts with perfect form and balance, and proper weight transfer? Can you execute an impeccable overhead position with a PVC? Hell, forget the PVC, can you execute a perfect air squat? Can you do a perfect push-up? These are the things that will make you a great athlete, the things that will turn the heads of other athletes and coaches. Just like I had to carry tools, cut pipe, and sand fittings before I could even attempt soldering the perfect joint, you must master body weight and PVC movements before you can execute big lifts. Demonstrating virtuosity takes patience and discipline, but the rewards are great. Next time the trainer takes you through a PVC warm-up look at it as an opportunity to become virtuous. Don’t just go through the motions.

Make-up Day